A new year is a time to reflect on the past but especially to look to the future. Over the next twelve months, we will enjoy magnificent highs on the sporting pitches, tracks and courts in Ireland and on a world stage.
On January 23rd we will look at a number of these key events in detail with our traditional popular Sporting year ahead event but in advance of that, we thought it would be worth a glance in alphabetical form at some of the key issues likely to fill our pages, our thoughts and our events throughout 2020.
It is far from an exhaustive list but will hopefully provide some food for thought…
A The Aviva Stadium will play host to four games in the Euro 2020 European Championships, though it will have to change its name to the Dublin Stadium.
B Basketball Ireland will have it’s own European Championships when the FIBA Euro’s for Small Nations takes place at the University of Limerick in July. It will be the centrepiece of Basketball Ireland’s 75th Anniversary as well.
C College Football will land at the Aviva Stadium on August 29th when Navy and Notre Dame go head to head in the first of a five year run of annual games. ESPN is bringing its full force to Dublin on what will be a weekend to remember doubling up with the All Ireland Football Final the following day.
D Disability Sport will be in the spotlight in a Paralympic Year. What we do together when it is front of mind has a major long term impact on our ability to ‘look in the mirror’ as sport and society.
E We do not know the date yet but there will be an election in the spring of 2020, a new Government to be formed and a potential shake-up of Ministerial responsibilities as well as the Oireachtas committee that has played a major role over recent years.
F Andy and Dessie Farrell share a surname and a daunting prospect of taking over management of two of our most popular and successful teams. Andy takes over as Head Coach of the Irish Rugby team at a time when expectations were lowered by the World cup while Dessie steps into the boots of Jim Gavin after Dublin made history with the five-in-a-row All Ireland Football titles.
G Governance will be very much in the spotlight with the FAI drama continuing to unfold but a spotlight spreading to others in the administration of sport. Are we coming to a point where regulation of a tighter nature is required, or have we gone beyond that point already?
H Health will be one of the key factors on the campaign trail and for the new Government. A timetable of how the National Sports policy will play an important part in creating a Healthy Ireland will take firm shape this year.
I The winners and losers from the Government’s Large Scale Infrastructure Fund will be known in the early weeks of the new year. The scheme was heavily oversubscribed and there will be a number of projects that will transform sport, though not all those who will be hoping for the nod.
J The JP McManus Pro-Am will bring the stars of the golfing world to Adare Manor in July, from Tiger Woods to Shane Lowry with Mickelson and McGinley adding to the glamour and the stardust.
K Stephen Kenny has achieved huge success with Dundalk and with a talented group of U21 footballers. Will he be the man to revive faith in the Republic of Ireland senior team when he takes over at some point, hopefully later rather than sooner.
L Lacrosse will be to the fore when Ireland hosts the World U19 Championships at the University of Limerick between July 9th and 18th.
M Mud will likely be flying when the European Cross Country Championships come to the Sport Ireland Campus on December 13th.
N The Allianz National Leagues in Hurling and Football get underway this month and have grown from strength to strength. Their place in a potential recasting of the GAA Intercounty Football calendar will be one of the major talking points at the 2020 GAA Congress
O The Olympic and Paralympic Games will dominate our sporting thoughts across July and August with stars rising in the land of the rising Sun and hopefully backing up the impact which athletes like Rhys McLenaghan, Jason Smyth, Ellen Keane and Sanita Puspure have been having on the world stage.
P Podcasting has become a major channel through which we absorb sports news, discussion and content. We are making plans for Sport for Business to enter the podcast arena with a weekly mix of news, interviews and features.
R The Ryder Cup will have a strong Irish flavour to it with Padraig Harrington as Captain and Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry expected to be among the European stars travelling to Whistling Straits in September
S The highlighting of Sport for Social Good, in partnership with Allianz has been a real highlight over the last two years and will return again in 2020 with an annual report on the best of projects and a third Annual Conference taking place in May.
T Our Thirty under Thirty with PwC will return in March looking to identify those future leaders within the business of sport that have already begun to make a significant mark.
U The Republic of Ireland U21 team and the talented players that are making their way at the highest level of the game in England has been a real bright spot for the FAI. They will look to secure a first-ever U21 European Championship appearance through the year as well as providing management, players and hope for the senior team in 2020.
V Video Content is an increasingly more important factor in the ways in which sporting bodies, brands and fans come together. Our major new event for 2020 will be a gathering of those involved in the production, sponsorship and distribution of content. We will announce details of our Sport for Business Sporting content event on January 23rd.
W Women‘s role in the playing, administration and promotion of sport is at an all-time high but it still has a long way to go before it is seen as being on an equal footing to that of men. We will continue to work towards that goal and our Annual List of 50 Influential Women with Liberty Insurance will return in the autumn ahead of our Annual Women in Sport Conference in November.
Y Youth is at the heart of sport and physical activity and yet the data from a 2019 report into Children’s physical activity revealed a shocking shortfall in the number of children getting the right level of physical activity. It’s a number we have to start moving in the right direction.
Image Credit: Morgan Treacy, Inpho.ie